A JOB-SEEKER has spoken of the difficulties of trying to get back into work as jobless figures hit an all- time high.
New figures have shown numbers are up to their highest level for three years in Sunderland, with 10,835 looking for employment last month compared to 10,131 in December
In County Durham, 15,822 were unemployed in January, an increase of 877 on the previous month month.
Among those is Adam Lee Anderson, who could not be kept on by the glazing firm where he completed an apprenticeship after leaving Easington Community Science College.
Since he signed on to Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in August, the Murton 20-year-old has applied for more than 20 jobs and is facing the third stage of an appeal against a decision to cut his welfare payments.
The Department for Work and Pension (DWP) severed his JSA when he failed to apply for a position before an application deadline, under the terms it says he signed up to when it was granted.
He believes the six-month halt to cash, enforced because he did not fill in an application for a post at a pawnbroker’s, is too harsh and wants hardship payments to help make ends meet.
He put in for four other positions during that period, as requested, but as he is looking for a job in a warehouse or factory, did not think the shop job was for him.
Adam says the JobCentre should do more to tell people the rules, although the DWP says these are made clear from the outset.
“I’m pretty upset, devastated,” he said.
“They need to get their information across properly.”
Adam, who lives with mum Victoria, 42, dad Neal, 46, and sister Caitlind, 14, a pupil at Easington Community Science College, believes extra training, both in academic and vocational courses, should be on offer.
He added: “More support’s needed. I need more qualifications because employers are looking for people who are already trained.”
A DWP spokeswoman said: “When people claim Jobseeker’s Allowance they enter into a contract with us.
“The conditions that go with that ensure people aren’t taking advantage of taxpayers’ money.
“Sanctions are used only where people have not adhered to their jobseeker obligations.”
She added: “If someone disagrees with a decision made on their claim, they can appeal.”
The DWP said sanctions can be applied if someone does not provide a reason for why they refused a job, and the case reviewed if they offer details later.